Senator Brown, challenger Warren debate in Lowell
By: George Sousouris
BOSTON, Massachusetts: Arguably the most watched Senate race in the country got even more heated last night, as incumbent Scott Brown (R) and challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) took to the stage in a compelling debate hosted at the UMass Lowell Tsongas Center. This is the second debate between the two, and comes as the latest polling conducted by WBUR shows Warren with an extremely thin 46-44% lead over Brown.
Brown, who swept in to power after the passing of Ted Kennedy, has consistently sought to paint himself as an independent Republican, one who is not afraid to veer from his party when it is in the best interest of his very blue state. Warren, a Harvard professor, has argued that she is a warrior for the middle class and would better represent Massachusetts in the Senate.
Both conservative and liberal media outlets called the debate very close, with punches landed for both sides, but all seemed to agree that Warren made a fairly large gaffe when asked which Republican Senators she would be willing to work with - she answered Senator Richard Lugar. Lugar was defeated in a primary challenge earlier this year and his term expires before Warren would potentially take her seat in the chamber.
Another controversial moment came when Brown named Justice Antonin Scalia as a model Supreme Court Justice, a notion anathema to a large majority of Massachusetts voters. However, Brown continued to strike on the theme that he was not tied to his party or their ideologies, saying of Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R) "I already let it be very clearly known to Mitch McConnell that I'm completely disgusted as to what's going on down there. He has a lot of work to do to earn my vote because I don't work for him or Harry Reid. That's the beauty of being independent."
Warren fired at Brown's appearance of independence, arguing that "What he says to people around this country is that they should contribute to his campaign because if he's re-elected, that increases the odds that the Republicans will control the Senate and that he can block President Obama's agenda. So, let's just be honest about what's going on here."
On the issue of immigration, Brown argued that the Dream Act was "backdoor amnesty" while Warren cited her support for the bill.
At one point, Warren looked to interrupt Brown while he was responding to a question, and he jabbed back saying "Excuse me, I’m not a student in your classroom. Please let me respond." A mixture of laughter, cheers, and boos filled the 5,000 person auditorium.
- Masslive.com, "WBUR poll shows Elizabeth Warren maintaining slight lead over Scott Brown in Senate race," accessed October 2, 2012
- Nj.com, "In debate, Brown veers away from GOP," accessed October 2, 2012 (dead link)
- Bostonherald.com, "Gloves off for Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown," accessed October 2, 2012
- The New York Times, "Brown and Warren Clash in Spirited Massachusetts Senate Debate," accessed October 2, 2012